O. H. Congar
Dec. 5th, 1887.
John Muir, Esq.,
My dear Sir and Friend:
Your letter of the 2d was most welcome, and I have often thought, as you have also expressed it, of days of lang syne. Since we last met my time has been so absorbed in the specialties of orange, lemon and raisin growing that I found but little time to devote to anything else until this "boom" fairly drove me from those pursuits, and since then I have been a complete slave -- yet my own master. I had so many "pets" in fruit growing that I willingly gave my whole time while pursuing that industry, but since corner lots pay better I am driven to the more worldly side of life for the time being. My grafting device was the offspring of necessity, as I viewed it at the time, having the alternative of digging up my vines or grafting them into another variety, and finding upon inquiry no certain method, this simple little device photographed itself upon my mind as a relief for the dilemma I was in. I had no knowledge of grafting, but with these tools I feel myself master of the art. I have been, however, most unfortunate in getting them manufactured the past two years, the materials used, in spite of all I could do, being so poor that last season I absolutely refused to fill orders with the tools I have on hand. I am only waiting for the "corner lot clouds to roll by" when I am going to find some reliable party whom I can secure to make me a good tool. Then I hope to send it out made of proper material.
In answering directly your inquiry relative to grafting large grapevines, this device was designed especially for that purpose, although I now call it the "universal grafter." Anything can be grafted above three inches in diameter, no matter how large. I make but few failures with these tools upon any stocks, trees or vines, but at, first, many others make bad failures. The principal cause of failure is in not bringing the delicate alburnum layers of stocks and scions together when inserting the scions. I therefore, last season, advised tipping the scion when setting the same, as in cleft grafting, in order that these sap barks would be sure to cross, thereby ensuring success. And again, not to graft the grape, or in fact anything, until the sap was flowing most freely in the stocks, and in the vine not until the leaves were well out. It will not do to graft a stock while dormant. That is to say, few failures need result if all the conditions are favorable -- healthy scions and stocks and sap flowing.
I will fit up one of these tools and forward to you within the next thirty days, if nothing prevents, but at all events, before you will need them, when I will also call your attention to some few other points relating to the tools. We should all be pleased to entertain you at any and all times, you and yours can spare the time to come down. We have a city already and growing rapidly. Mrs. C. wishes to be kindly remembered.
With best wishes and a merry Christmas, I remain,
Yours most truly,
O. H. Congar
1887 Dec 5
Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 20 cm.
Congar, O. H., "Letter from O. H. Congar to John Muir, 1887 Dec 5." (1887). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1733.
Reel 05, Image 0902
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